Overall Broadway box office remains flat

Judging from last week’s box office, Broadway musical “Ghost” may not be as dead as expected.

“Ghost” ($667,994) posted the frame’s biggest jump in sales, but it’s an ambiguously upbeat sign of life. On the one hand, the show played a full week of eight perfs for the first time after a string of seven-perf seshes, so a boost is to be expected. On the other hand, one of those perfs was the show’s comped opening night, which in box office terms is akin to playing a seven-perf week anyway.

In any event, it’s a notable step up for the show in a week that kicked off with the tuner earning largely vicious reviews from Gotham press following its April 23 opening. In the coming weeks legiters will be keeping an eye out for further improvements that would indicate the musical can overcome those damning notices after all.

In a more clear-cut indicator of strength, play “Clybourne Park” ($373,230) jumped by 32% from the previous frame, fueled by the strong press it garnered in the wake of its April 19 opening. And even though another well-reviewed play, “The Lyons” ($198,432), came in under the $200,000 mark, it nonetheless spiked by some 53% despite its own comped opening April 23.

Plays in general were the bright spot in a week that saw overall sales remain relatively flat. Once again, both “Death of a Salesman” ($900,749 for seven perfs, another house record) and “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” ($892,877) made the top 10, while “One Man, Two Govnors” ($541,263), another play coming off strong reviews, posted its best tally yet. “A Streetcar Named Desire” ($363,842) also upticked.

The Rialto was deluged with opening night perfs last week and, for the most part, the usual dips that go along with a frame that accommodates press nights and opening. Strong-selling new offering “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($829,755) looks likely to have no trouble rebalancing, but low box office will be tougher to overcome for the sluggish “Leap of Faith” ($224,539).

Broadway cume came in at $26.1 million for 39 shows on the boards, up just $200,000. Attendance was down, just barely, to 296,353.

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